Babies don’t see any separation between themselves and their primary caregiver. They view mummy (or whoever their primary caregiver is) as a part of themselves. Research suggests that this phase ends at around seven months. More details here.
Sometimes I wonder how this separation and independence works from a mother’s point of view.
I think I sometimes find it hard to accept that my children are people in their own right. That they are not a part of me. That I do not have a right to their innermost thoughts and feelings unless they choose to share.
Don’t get me wrong. I want my children to be independent. I want them to be themselves. I don’t want them to depend on me for their happiness.
But I want to know what is going on in their heads.
Right now my son is worried about starting school in August. He is not great with change and this is a huge change for him.
Right now I am worried about my son being worried.
I want him to talk to me about how he is feeling so I can understand him better. So I can help him better.
But he doesn’t really want to talk about it.
Not to me or to anyone else.
And that is his right.
He is his own person.
So how do I help him?
I have come to the conclusion that all I can offer him is my love and my acceptance. And all I can do is wait. If he knows that I am here for him and that I want to help then he will ask for my help if he wants it.
It sounds so simple but it is so hard.
Waiting means watching him worry. Waiting means seeing him unhappy. And no parent wants to see their child unhappy.
It would be so much easier if my son really was a part of me. If we weren’t separate. Because then I could handle it all for him and he wouldn’t have to feel unhappy.
But if our parents protected us from every negative emotion in life, would we really be full ourselves?